Ultralight down jackets a favorite among backpackers, climbers, and backcountry skiers who are counting every ounce. But if you’re not so extreme, these jackets are still great for boosting sleep systems and they fit really well in your pack.
Keep in mind, these down jackets are often minimal and come with thinner fabric to save the most weight. While these jackets can be really warm, they often require more care, so don’t expect to go bushwacking in these. Let’s check out some of the best ultralight down jackets.
Montbell Plasma 1000
Weight: 4.8oz (136g)
Highlights: Lightest down jacket with minimalist design
Best Price: montbell
If you are looking for the absolute lightest down jacket, then the Montbell Plasma 1000 is hands down the lightest down puffy you will find. The Montbell Plasma 1000 weighs in at just 4.8oz (136g) – and yes, that even includes the external stuff sack that weighs 0.2 oz (6g).
There are 3 distinct characteristics that make this jacket so light – 1000 FP down, 7 denier ballistic airlight nylon, and the minimalist design.
The warm 1000 fill power down reduces weight while maintaining it’s thermal profile, all held together by lightweight but strong fabric. This minimalist design comes with no hood, no pocket, and no drawcord to save weight even more. While the minimalist design isn’t for everyone, the weight to warmth ratio can’t be beat.
The Montbell Plasma 1000 does fit a little snug, so if you’re looking to purchase this jacket, you might want to go one size larger than normal.
Arc’teryx Cerium SL Down Jacket
Weight: 7.1oz (200)
Highlights: Light and warm with strategically placed synthetic for moisture management
Best Price: Backcountry
If you looking for a jacket that was designed specifically for the backpacker, then the Arc’teryx Cerium SL might be your best bet. It’s super warm using 850-fill European grey goose down and super light, weighing only 7.1 ounces (200g).
You can bet a lot of R&D went into this jacket that makes its unique features stand out. Aside from being super light and warm, there is synthetic material strategically placed at the cuffs, shoulders, and pits for moisture management.
The Arc’teryx Cerium SL stuff right into its pocket and comes with a drawstring around the hem. The hooded version even has it’s own drawstring to keep any drafts out when it’s windy.
Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
Mountain Hardwear is already known for producing some of the best outdoor gear, and their ultralight down jackets are no exception. At 8.3 ounces (236g), the Ghost Whisperer is filled with 800-fill RDS-certified, down insulation to keep you feeling toasty. Oh, and it’s made from 100% recycled ultralight ripstop shell fabric with a DWR finish to keep you dry. Awesome? You bet.
When it comes to jacket weight, it depends on the style you are getting. The hoody version weighs 8.8oz (249g), while the vest version weighs 5oz (142g). The regular jacket without the hood weighs 8.3oz.
Along with having zip pockets and a full zipper, the Ghost Whisperer comes with a drawstring and elastic cuffs and hood to prevent drafts. And what’s nice is they have a variety of colors and sizes run from small to XXL.
- See the Men’s Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Jacket
- See the Women’s Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer
Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket
Weight: 7.75oz (220g)
Highlights: Wind protection and moisture resistance with custom colors
Best Price: Enlightened Equipment
The Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket is one jacket you don’t want to pass over. It’s not down, but some claim it’s “significantly warmer than the Ghost Whisperer”. And the best part? Their jackets start at 7.75 ounces (220g) and have customizable colors.
Besides its warmth, the Torrid Apex Jacket offers wind protection and moisture resistance, all at an ultralight weight that performs better than down in wet conditions. The zipper insulated handwarmer pockets, raglan sleeves for a full range of motion, and a full front zipper that extends to the chin are all features of this jacket.
This jacket is slightly oversized to allow for layering, which makes it a great 3-season jacket. And with 19 different color options in 5 different sizes, you’ll be able to find a color and size that you love.
- See the Men’s Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket
- See the Women’s Enlightened Equipment Torrid Apex Jacket
Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody
If you’re on the market for one of the best hiking hoodies, the Patagonia Micro Puff Hoody is something to consider. What makes this hoody so unique is that while it’s a synthetic jacket (warm when wet and highly water-resistant), it’s constructed like down, giving you an excellent warmth to weight ration.
What’s this jacket’s secret to keeping you extra warm? It uses PlumaFill insulation along with its special construction to preserve loft. This means there are a lot less cold spots where the down usually clumps. And like a real down jacket, it’s highly compressible and soft.
And the weight? 9.3 ounces (264 g) including the hood. What makes it so ultralight is the minimal design. While it does have two zippered handwarmer pockets and two internal pockets, it uses elasticized cuffs and hem to seal in warmth. And when you want to pack it up, it stuffs inside its left pocket with a reinforced carabiner clip-in loop.
REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket 2.0
Weight: 11oz (312g)
Highlights: Most affordable and great for layering
Best Price: REI
If you are on a budget, then the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket might just be the perfect fit for you. While this jacket isn’t as warm as some of the other jackets mentioned here with 650 FP RDS Down, it’s still fairly light at 11 ounces (312g) and the price can’t be beat.
The REI Co-op 650 is a fairly simple jacket. It has no hood and comes with a full zipper and two zip hand pockets. It also comes with stretch cuffs and hem to keep out drafts. The jacket compresses really well into its own left pocket. Oh, and all the materials are responsibly sourced.
If you’re looking for an entry-level down jacket that is still warm and has a good warmth to weight ration, this is definitely worth considering.